Attorney General calls increasing youth acceptance, use of marijuana a ‘predictable’ development

DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said today that a national report showing both a lower perception of risk associated with marijuana use and higher rates of marijuana use among teens is a discouraging development. The report, issued today by the Partnership at Drugfree.org and the MetLife Foundation, tracks alongside recent reports from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

According to the report: “Adolescents are seeing less long-term risk in using marijuana. Since 2008, there have been declines in their perceptions that they will lose respect, harm themselves, or mess up their lives if they use marijuana.” The report also showed increasing reported instances of marijuana use among youth.

“These continuing trends are incredibly disconcerting given the research on the effects of marijuana use on the teenage brain,” Suthers said. “The increasing accessibility and acceptability of marijuana for teenagers in Colorado should be of concern to all of us.”

Suthers has repeatedly underlined the connection between the growth of the medical marijuana industry and decreased perceptions among youth of the risk of marijuana use. Suthers said today’s report underlines again that the increased availability and acceptability of marijuana in Colorado has dire implications for future drug-use rates. The Attorney General urged state lawmakers to respond to the overwhelming evidence that the increasing prevalence and proliferation of medical marijuana are having negative effects on youth.

“Given the path Colorado has gone down — creating a marijuana industry far beyond what the voters approved in Amendment 20 — this growth in teenage marijuana use and the diminished perception of risk are highly predictable,” Suthers said. “I would encourage Colorado policymakers to consider the trajectory we are on as they consider future marijuana laws and policies.”

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